The government on Saturday announced plans to roll out an 8-Point Economic Stimulus Programme, to resuscitate the economy from the effects of the Covi d 19 pandemic.
The programme intends to cushion vulnerable groups in informal settlements whose livelihoods were shuttered rendering some families destitute after losing their source of income.
Westlands Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Mwai Gicheru who gave an outlook on how the exercise was going to be cascaded to the community level expressed fears that Kenyan households were struggling to feed their families after most of their bread winners were unable to sustain their basic needs.
Since the onset of the highly contagious disease he explained the country witnessed massive job cuts and loss of business as the prevailing situation made it impossible for most firms to operate optimally to retain the employees on their payroll.
Gicheru said the grave scenario compelled the government to unveil various programmes such as Cash Transfer to mitigate the most vulnerable groups from the effects of the pandemic.
He said the most the county had mapped out and enlisted the needy segment of the society under the programme including the orphans, the elderly, people living with disabilities and those suffering from terminal and chronic diseases to benefiting from the fund.
He said at least 843 residents were beneficiaries of the cash transfer and were entitled to a weekly token of Ksh 1000 per person to buy food and other basic commodities for their sustenance.
Gichure said the team identified vulnerable people in Kangemi, Deep Sea, Githogoro, Kibagare and Waruku informal settlement areas.
On the Kazi Mtaani Initiative where youth are being engaged in restoring hygine standards, civil works, the DCC said currently the sub county committee was processing fresh applicants for the second phase of the exercise which will this time round also cover Westland’s area.
“we are using cluster heads in our various informal areas to receive the application as well as have a data bank of both the skilled and unskilled youth”, Gicheru said.
Currently, during the trial period the number of youth engaged by the National government is 26,000; but it intends to increase that number to 200,000 youths, across the country
On tourism which is a huge industry especially for Westlands Sub County since it has most of the hotels in Nairobi , the DCC noted that they have been going out together with the sub county Covid emergency response team to inspect hotels and ensure they have complied with the covid 19 measures before they are opened for business.
“So far we have inspected 18 premises within Kilimani and Westland and given them a clean bill of health after comploying with all the governments rules. We are ongoing with the inspections inother hotels including ensuring that their workers have been tested”, he said.
The Tourism sector has suffered the most because of restricted movements, and termination of international flights
Gicheru has also noted that residents from the sub county have been coming out willingly and in large numbers for Covid mass testing that is ongoing.
“On Monday we were able to test 508 people, 174 from high ridge and 334 from Kihumbuini primary. Tomorrow we will be at Githogoro” , he said.
The DCC also said that food handlers as well as truck drivers are being tested at the Lady North health center in Kilimani and every day 600 to 700 tests are done.
Gicheru however called upon those being tested for Covid to ensure that they give the right information especially their telephone numbers so that once results are out they can be able to receive them and also in case they are positive cases they can be attended to together with their contacts.
The DCC said in order to ensure all is running smoothly fumigation in the sub county is ongoing in major market places such as Kangemi, and City Park and they have also been able to distribute 7,120 masks and 2450 sanitizers to boda boda, small scale traders and also people living in the informal sectors.
“We are involving chiefs, community elders, neighborhood watches through nyumba Kumi and bodaboda leaders and even the MCAs to ensure the containment measures messages given by the government reach all especially those in the informal sectors”, Gicheru said .
Global Coronavirus pandemic has continued to undermine Governments efforts to revitalize the economy and through the stimulus programme, government wants to combat the effects of this down-turn and stimulate growth by injecting a total of Ksh 53.7 Billion.
By Wangari Ndirangu